Nebraska Bank Violated Equal Pay Act, Federal Agency Charges
ST. LOUIS — A Nebraska bank violated federal law by paying women and men unequally for jobs with the same required skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit today.
According to the EEOC, Christine Schwieger began working for Heritage Bank, which is based in Wood River, Neb., in 2010 as a relationship manager who sold insurance. From 2010 to 2013, Heritage Bank paid Schwieger and another woman, in the same position as Schwieger, the same base salary. However, when that other woman quit and was replaced by a man in 2014, Heritage Bank paid him 33% more. After Schwieger learned of the pay inequity and complained, Heritage Bank did nothing. When Schwieger quit in December 2015, she was still being paid the same unlawfully discriminatory base salary that she earned when she was hired, even almost six years earlier.
Such alleged conduct violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which prohibits companies from paying women and men unequally for doing a job with the same required skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Heritage Bank, Civil Action No. 4:17-cv-03068), in U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary relief, an order requiring the company to implement policies and practices to prevent future discrimination, and declaratory judgment.
“The law requiring equal pay for men and women is the oldest law the EEOC enforces,” said James R. Neely, Jr., director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office. “It is unconscionable that women are still paid less than men for equal work in the 21st century.”
Andrea G. Baran, the EEOC’s regional attorney in St. Louis, said, “Heritage Bank’s failure to pay Ms. Schwieger fair and equal wages for equal work was manifestly unfair and illegal. The Commission is dedicated to investigating claims of unequal pay and enforcing the law against employers who it finds have violated this important statute.”
The EEOC is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. The St. Louis District Office oversees Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and a portion of southern Illinois.
The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov. Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.